SF Giants protect top prospect, others from Rule 5 Draft

Marco Luciano
Marco Luciano / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

The SF Giants spent Tuesday making a number of moves, including swinging a trade for an infield prospect and designating seven players for assignment. Concurrently, they added a number of minor leaguers to their 40-man roster, a move made to protect the players from the upcoming Rule 5 draft.

Major League Baseball's Rule 5 draft, in which teams get to take a shot on longtime minor-leaguers who haven't been added to their original organization's 40-man roster, takes place during the Winter Meetings in early-December - but Tuesday was the deadline to add players to the big-league roster so they couldn't be taken in the Rule 5.

As expected, two of the Giants' top-three prospects were added to the roster: top prospect Marco Luciano, long seen as the team's shortstop of the future, and Luis Matos, a toolsy outfielder coming in at #3 in the system in many publications before a rough 2022 season.

Both players were international free agent signees in July of 2018 and quickly garnered notice, with Luciano the top prospect in the system and a consistent top-20 in all of baseball by 2020 in Baseball America's eyes. Matos entered the Giants' top-30 as #8 before the canceled 2020 season, moved up to #4 before 2021 and #3 before this past season in the same rankings. He dropped to #5 at a midseason update while batting .211 in 91 games for High-A Eugene.

In addition, the team placed newly-acquired infield prospect Brett Wisely, from the aforementioned trade, on the roster. In the midst of a solid 2022 season with Tampa Bay's Double-A affiliate, Montgomery, Wisely found a place on the organization's top-30 at #24, according to Baseball America.

RHPs fill out the 40-man

The other three added to the 40-man were all right-handed pitchers outside of top-30 lists.

Starter Tristan Beck, a former Stanford standout drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 2018 and acquired by the Giants in 2019, did come in at #30 in Baseball America's list before 2022, but he dropped off at mid-season in the midst of struggles with Triple-A Sacramento.

Another starter, Keaton Winn, was a fifth-round pick of San Francisco in 2018 and could find his way onto updated prospect lists this offseason, as he succeeded at three levels in 2022 with good strikeout and walk rates while limiting home runs after missing 2020 because of the canceled season and 2021 thanks to injury.

Finally, reliever Jose Cruz, signed as an international free agent in 2017, dominated at Low-A San Jose to earn a spot on the California League end-of-season All-Star Team. Cruz, 22, struck out 86 batters in just over 50 innings and allowed just 21 hits.